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Crist gets out veto pen for petition bill and Babcock

Take that, Florida Chamber.

So sorry Babcock buddies.

Gov. Charlie Crist has took out his veto pen Tuesday and slam dunked the priority bill of the Florida Chamber of Commerce last session -- a bill to limit petition gathering. The governor's reason: the new requirements on signature gathering "signficantly burdens the right of Florida citizens to propose amendments.'' Here's the veto letter: Download sb_900_veto.pdf

Brad Ashwell of the Florida Public Interest Research Group, which lobbied heavily against the bill, offered this assessment:

"The governor lived up to his “people’s governor” moniker today by vetoing this legislation that would have undermined direct democracy in Florida. We need more democracy in this state, not less.  It’s heartening to see that the Governor agrees.

Florida's Constitution is already the most difficult to amend among states with a ballot initiative process.  This bill was a pure power grab by the Chamber of Commerce.  These special interests already dominate the legislative process and they just can’t stomach the thought that citizen groups can bypass that forum and go directly to the ballot."

Crist also canned a bill that would have circumvented the management agreement the state has entered into with the owners of Babcock Ranch, the 75,000-acre preserve in Southwest Florida, regarding hunting and tenant farming. Down with the veto went the main goal of the bill: to give National Guard members and their families half-off admission to state parks. Here's the veto: Download hb_981_veto.pdf

Finally, the governor rejected a bill that he believes would "substantially rewrite the Administrative Procedures Act" by interfering with agency oversight ability. Download hb7183_veto.pdf